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Hands-on Learning of Commercial Electrical Wiring Practices for Electrical Engineering Students Through Two-University Cooperative Effort

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Electrical Energy Courses, Labs, and Projects II

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.654.1 - 23.654.14



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Paper Authors


Herbert L. Hess University of Idaho, Moscow

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Herb Hess received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1993. He then joined the University of Idaho where he is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His interests are in power electronics, broadly construed, to benefit the people of the Inland Pacific Northwest.

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Brian Peterson U.S. Air Force Academy

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Brian S. Peterson is a Principal Systems Engineer at the LinQuest Corporation providing technical support to Air Force Space Command in their oversight of strategic and tactical satellite communications. He received his B.S.E.E. degree in 1991 from the United Stated Air Force Academy, an M.S. degree in Systems Engineering in 1995, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He also received an M.S.E.E from Florida State University in 1998. Dr. Peterson is a Senior member of IEEE and served as Deputy Department Head in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the United Stated Air Force Academy until retiring from the military in 2011.

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Susan Elmore US Air Force Academy

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Susan Elmore received a BA degree from California State University, Sacramento in 1977 and a AS degree in Electronic Technology from Sacramento City College in 1989. She started working for Department of Defense in 1980 in Sacramento and transferred to US Air Force Academy in Colorado in 1994 where she works for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an Electronic Technician. She is the laboratory technician for the Electrical Power Systems course taught within the department. She is responsible for maintaining the electrical wiring trainer units and power benches that are used in laboratory exercises for this course.

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Al DUPE Mundy United States Air Force Academy

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Al Mundy earned his BSCpE at Clemson University and his MSCpE at Syracuse U. He's currently in a doctoral program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His interests are in power electronics as well as green/renewable energy.

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Hands-on Learning of Commercial Electrical Wiring Practices for Electrical Engineering Students Through Two-University Cooperative EffortMany Electrical Engineering students go through their entire program of study withoutencountering the basic practices required by the National Electrical Code. When such topics aretaught, they lend themselves strongly to learning by doing; it is difficult to understand without adominant hands-on component in the instruction. Hardware for training is available throughvendors of education products, but these can be quite expensive. There exists a need for apractical, economical alternative. This paper will describe such an alternative developed throughcooperation between two universities, ________ and _________.These trainers consist of two types of units: student units, intended for hands-on wiring practiceand discovery, and a comprehensive “instructor” unit consisting of all of the elements of thestudent units, designed for demonstration and reference. There are four distinct student units toaddress the following common household and commercial wiring tasks: Breaker panel withsecurity light and standard outlet, ground fault circuit interrupter with downstream load, switchedand unswitched outlets, and three way switches. All units are built with standard wood studdingto resemble a real installation. Electrical boxes are properly attached and, for most of them,Romex is run. Tools such as a screwdriver and pliers are provided. An innovative display andstorage system was created for these units. Design for safety to enable the instructor to controlthe progress of each experiment is included. Cost of a complete set of four student units is about$150. From picking up the materials at a lumberyard to finished, assembled product took theauthor about six hours.For teaching a typical section at each of the two participating universities, two complete sets ofstudent units and one instructor unit were built. The instructor teaches the fundamentals ofhousehold and commercial wiring in two or three lessons using the instructor unit as a fullyoperating demonstrator. Then the students work in a classroom/lab environment to wire up eachof the four student units in turn over two or three lessons. Student involvement was enthusiastic;their feedback will be included in the paper’s assessment section.The paper will include descriptions and diagrams sufficient to replicate each unit. The paper willalso contain a discussion and outline of the instruction, sufficient to understand what is beingcovered. The safety design will be explained in detail. After four semesters of use, anassessment of student learning indicates improved proficiency with the concepts and methodsand an enthusiasm to go with it.

Hess, H. L., & Peterson, B., & Elmore, S., & DUPE Mundy, A. (2013, June), Hands-on Learning of Commercial Electrical Wiring Practices for Electrical Engineering Students Through Two-University Cooperative Effort Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19668

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